Introduction & Specification Details and Close-up
Fnatic has jumped into the headset market with the REACT, a headset specifically designed for eSports performance.
Fnatic is currently transitioning from an eSports team to a company that produces its own gaming peripherals, and one of the products that Fnatic is pushing is the REACT gaming headset. Fnatic boasts on the website that "the only things that really matter for a gaming headset is directional audio with great clarity, crystal clear comms, and an amazing mic". We are going to see if that is all that it takes for a gaming headset to get my tick of approval.
The Fnatic REACT sports 53mm Drivers that have been "calibrated for eSports", premium leather ear-cups that have thick memory foam padding, and comfort designed for long gaming sessions. I'm going to put all this to the test, breaking down the design of the REACT, the audio performance, it's build quality, the microphone performance, and overall, the experience with the headset itself. Let's start things off with a close up of the design.
First off, we have an image of the front of the box. Here we can see what REACT looks like, and also get a look at the packaging. The packaging is discrete and straightforward, something I personally really enjoy.
Moving onto the side of the box, we have some simple, yet effective, plain text spelling Fnatic. The text is silver and metallic, and I love the look.
The back of the box showcases all of the REACT features, and also gives a short story about Fnatic and an introduction to the REACT.
The final side of the box showcases some of the accolades Fnatic has achieved over its time as a professional eSports gaming brand.
Taking the headset out of the box, we can see some simple packaging, and a Fnatic symbol right in the middle.
This side of the box features a sly comment saying, "it's too late" to turn back now.
In the above image, we are taking a look at the earcup, and we can see that Fnatic has opted for a simple design on the earcup with no flashy colors or lights.
Moving onto a close-up image of the earcup, we can see that Fnatic has equipped the REACT with a metal frame. In this image, we also can see that the headband has a nice leather coating, just like the earcups.
This is another angle of the REACT earcup. Here we can see the thin metal frame, as well as the smooth leather and a connecting wire.
Here we have a close up image of the earcup, I will get into how comfortable these are later on in the review, but for now, I can tell you that the cushioning is memory foam, and the leather is very soft and pleasing.
Here we have an image of the microphone port. Fnatic has decided not to go with any more controls on the earcup, and keep things simple and sleek.
Moving onto the provided microphone, here we have an image of it plugged into the headset. As you can see, it comes with its own pop filter, and is made out of bendable metal.
Here we have a close up of the mute microphone button and the 3.5mm headphone jack.
Moving on, we have the provided splitter cable, which comes in at a total length of 2 meters.
Lastly, we have a shot of the fabric that's under the headband. This fabric is very soft, and breaths very well.
Jak's Test System Specifications
- Motherboard: ASUS ROG Crosshair VIII Hero X570 (Wi-Fi) (buy from Amazon)
- CPU: AMD Ryzen 5 3600X @ 4.4GHz (buy from Amazon)
- GPU: EVGA GeForce RTX 2070 SUPER XC GAMING (buy from Amazon)
- Cooler: be quiet! Silent Wings 3
- RAM: 16GB (2x8GB) Corsair Vengeance LPX 16GB 3200MHz (buy from Amazon)
- SSD: GALAX HOF Pro SSD PCI-E M.2 2TB
- Power Supply: Corsair CX Series 750 Watt (buy from Amazon)
- Case: be quiet! Silent Base 600 (buy from Amazon)
- OS: Microsoft Windows 10 Pro 64-bit (buy from Amazon)
Design & Software
The Fnatic REACT has a straightforward yet effective design. The headset has an aluminum frame and has large over-the-ear earcups that sport soft leather with memory foam inside. The frame of the REACT has two metal hangers that are positioned on the left and right side of each earcup, allowing for both earcups to mold the users' head vertically.
Since Fnatic decided to go with this design of the frame, the REACT's earcups cannot swivel, meaning that the headset isn't the comfiest when placed around the neck. As for the earcups themselves, they have a hard plastic coating that features a simple Fnatic logo on the outside of each earcup, as well as a wire coming out the top of both. Inside the earcups are the letters L and R, indicating which side is left and which side is right. There are no LEDs present on the entire headset, which really gives the REACT a low-profile kind of feel that I really enjoy. The headset can be adjusted vertically, and Fnatic has put little circle indentations on each side of the headset so users can match both sides equally.
The REACT's headband is also very comfortable; it has similar cushioning to the earcups and also features the words 'REACT' engraved on the top. When holding the REACT, I noticed that the overall build quality of the headset feels very strong, yet flexible. I believe the exposed metal frame is what gives me this feeling, and for a headset that only comes in at the cost of $80, this is extremely surprising.
Moving onto the lack of controls on the earcups, usually, nowadays, you would find a plethora of multimedia controls on a gaming headset's earcup. These controls are typically mute microphone, volume controls, multimedia controls, and sometimes even a secret microphone. Fnatic has decided to keep everything very simple and has only opted for a single microphone port. Instead, Fnatic has placed a volume wheel and a mute microphone button about 30cm down from the headset's earcup.
I enjoy having these controls on the earcup, but I can understand that Fnatic decided to go for the cord controls to cut back costs. The controls work as intended and don't do anything special.
Fnatic decided to go with a strong and decently high-quality microphone. The REACT's microphone is one of my favorite headset microphones as the metal arm is just awesome to use due to its flexibility and stiffness. Users can put the microphone at almost any angle, and it holds its position with ease. This awesomeness is backed up by the quality of the microphone, which I will get more into in the performance side of this review. Fnatic also added a pop filter to the microphone, which gets rid of any excess breathing being picked up and also adds to the aesthetic look of the microphone.
Fnatic went with a 1.2-meter cable wired into the headset, which can be plugged into a mobile device. For PC users, the 1.2-meter cable plugs directly into a 2-meter splitter cable that gives access to the microphone.
Overall, I can see that Fnatic really tried to keep costs down with the REACT and did so by cutting out some luxurious features such as earcup controls, swiveling, LEDs, and more. With the money they have saved ruling those features out, they have doubled down on what they want the REACT to shine in, long last comfort, a sturdy microphone and a strong, yet flexible headset. Lovely work here, Fnatic.
Performance & Microphone
Fnatic has equipped the REACT with 53 drivers and has boasted on their website that they are specifically fine-tuned for eSports gaming. I put this claim to the test, and I can say after playing upwards of thirty hours of games with the REACT that this claim is completely true. I would even go as far as to say that the REACT is one of, if not the best headset I have played FPS games with. Let me explain why.
It honestly took me about five hours or so to realize just how good the REACT was at competitive shooters. Why did it take me so long? Because I was too busy feeling like I was hacking in Apex Legends and Call of Duty Modern Warfare. Why did I feel like I was hacking? Because when wearing the REACT, I felt like no one could ever sneak up on me, and I knew where everyone was at the same time. It felt like I was always the one at a positional advantage. I could hear footsteps and reloads before all of my other teammates could, meaning I was the one making all of the calls before they were.
Why was this happening? Because FNATIC has finely-tuned the mid and highs in the REACT while tightening the base. Meaning that every sound is that is heard in the mid to high range is crystal clear through the REACT, and is hard to miss by the player.
This also means that the REACT is specifically designed for listening to key competitive sounds such as reloads, footsteps, and gunfire. As for the base, it doesn't have very much oomph to it, but that is easily counteracted by how good the mid to high range is. I found these advantages especially noticeable in FPS games.
For a headset that only comes in at the cost of $80, I am absolutely blown away with the gaming audio quality. I have never felt more calm and collected in a competitive shooter than when I was wearing the REACT. I heard every step, every movement, and every mistake my enemy made. The directional audio is unparalleled, and I'm yet to find a headset that can match its quality and price.
With such heavy emphasis on competitive gaming, it was expected that the REACT would fall off when it came to music listening, and it did. Hip-hop, movie soundtracks, and basically anything with bass didn't have a nice deep kick to it. This wasn't the end of the world, though the bass quality is passable. The REACT isn't designed for music listening, but if you happen to listen to music with it, you won't be that upset about it.
The REACT's microphone is awesome to use. I absolutely love that Fnatic decided to go with a metal arm as it's extremely sturdy and feels good to move around. Users are able to put this microphone at almost any angle they want, which means it will be able to comply with virtually any gamers positioning needs.
As for the quality of the microphone, I'm happy to report that the REACT sports an above-average microphone. Communication doesn't get lost, and in-game calls have never been easier. I listened to the microphone through Windows and found that all of my words sounded clear and that the microphone didn't cut out when I was talking for long periods. I also did a keyboard test of my MX Cherry Red Switches, and even when typing at full speed, the microphone didn't pick up any keystrokes.
I also asked my friends on Discord what they thought of the microphone and if I was clear and to them. They said that the microphone sounded a bit better than an average headset microphone but not as good as my desktop microphone (Razer Seiren X). That response was expected and proves that the REACT's microphone is up to scratch for competitive gaming communication. Overall, the microphone is very impressive for an $80 headset.
The REACT doesn't have many features, but the features it does have are finely tuned to perform extremely well. Here's what is hot: the directional audio is almost next to none, the price, the build quality is sturdy and will last users a long time, and the comfort of the earcups is fantastic.
The REACT lacks earcup controls, earcup swiveling, and the line controls could have been much better.
So, would I recommend Fnatic's REACT? If you are a competitive gamer that is explicitly looking for a headset to complement the FPS games or battle royale games you play, then don't look any further than the REACT.
Why do I say don't look any further? Well, one of the reasons is because of the price. The REACT comes in at only $80, and if your use case is specific to competitive FPS games, there's almost no point in shopping around for a better headset because you will struggle to find one without spending possibly hundreds of more dollars. I wouldn't recommend the REACT to someone who plays a wide range of games such as RPG titles that have awesome soundtracks, or single-player story games that have a wide sound stage, as I believe there are other headsets on the market that would be better suited for these games.
Honestly, the REACT is one of the best headsets I've used, and this is because of the price in comparison to the features it offers. Even though it doesn't come with many features, the features it does have are finely tuned to what it's designed to do - give gamers the edge in competitive games. I fully back up the claim that the REACT does make you feel like you have the edge of your enemies, and I'm more than excited to see what Fnatic has in store for the next version of the REACT.
Lastly, Fnatic claims on its website that "The only things that really matter for a gaming headset is directional audio with great clarity, crystal clear comms with an amazing mic, and comfort for those long grinds." For most gamers, this statement is true, and the REACT is the headset that proves it.
The Bottom Line
The Fnatic REACT is one of the best competitive gaming headsets on the market. You will struggle finding a better FPS gaming headset for the price.